Greatly Rejoice

Easter Sunday

Greatly Rejoice      

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – April 21st, 2019

Intro:

  • The Apostle Peter is often portrayed as someone who was impulsive and not the sharpest crayon in the box.  In reality, this is not true.  
  • Peter is easily the most prominent of Jesus’s disciples.  He appears in the Gospels more frequently than all the other disciples’ combined.  Peter receives special attention in many situations during the life of Jesus, and he is often the spokesperson for the other disciples.  In every list of Jesus’ 12 disciples, his name appears first.  He is the first to profess genuine faith in Jesus, the first to answer Jesus, and named first by Paul as the witness to Jesus’s resurrection. 
  • Peter was one of the first called by Jesus – he heard His teachings, saw His miracles and was a close friend of Jesus.  Peter was present to see his mother-in-law healed and he was the only one who walked on water with Jesus. Peter witnessed the transfiguration, was present at the last supper, prayed with Him the night He was betrayed, saw Him questioned and beaten, denied Jesus three times, was in the empty tomb, reinstated three times and saw Jesus ascend into heaven. He was there at the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out, he preached fearlessly for Christ, performed miracles, led the church, and suffered in prison.  He also wrote a portion of the Bible, and we have here with us. 
  • His letters are intensely practical, theologically deep and straight forward. This morning we are focusing on the opening lines of his first letter.  If you have your Bible, open up to 1 Peter 1.  In the first few verses, he introduces himself and identifies who he is writing to.  He wrote to God’s elect scattered throughout the region.

1 Peter 1:2 NIV
who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 

  • We have been chosen, according to what God foreknew, to be sanctified through the Spirit, and to be obedient to Jesus Christ because we have been forgiven our sin by His payment for our penalty with His life. May we have both grace and peace in abundance. He then goes on to focus on what we have been given because of the mercy of God and what we may have to go through while we are yet on this earth.  

What we have received

1 Peter 1:3-6a NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice,

  • The whole passage starts with praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God deserves all praise.  He has given us His very self in the life of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has done this “In His great mercy.” God does have great mercy.  Why are we in need of mercy?  Because God created everything and called it Good.  He gave us dominion over what He created and told us how we are to live as the pinnacle of His creation.  He instructed us on what we are to do and how we are to live in a way that is good.  We rebelled against our good creator and His good ways and became corrupted by our own desires, as we corrupted ourselves and the good world He had created.  We became lawbreakers and deserved His judgment and His wrath. But because God’s “great mercy,” He has given us a number of things.
  • He has given us a “new birth.”  Why is this necessary?  Because we are born the first time, the natural way with a nature that is bent toward sin and hostile toward God.  Because God is merciful to us, He gives us a new birth- a supernatural one with a new nature that is bent toward Him.  
  • This new birth gives us a “living hope.”  This is a hope that is alive, active and meaningful.  This is the hope that we live in now.  This is a hope for redemption, salvation and glorification in eternal life.  
  • This was given to us “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”  This is the reason why we celebrate today. If it was not for the sinless life and selfless sacrifice of God the Son Jesus Christ, we would still be under the wrath of God. He was a sufficient sacrifice evidenced in God’s raising Him from the dead.  We can only receive the new birth and a living hope through what God accomplished through Jesus Christ.  
  • Not only do we receive these things, but also an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade which is kept in heaven for you.  This is an inheritance that will not be touched by inflation, that will not be corrupted over time and it will not lose its value or its worth.  This is what is waiting for those who believe.   
  • We are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that will be revealed in the last time.  Because we have faith in His one and only Son for the forgiveness our sins, God will keep us and guard us until salvation is revealed at the last time.  We will be saved at the great judgment because we have faith in Christ.  Salvation comes at the end, and we live in the new birth with a living hope of the salvation and inheritance that is given to us because of Jesus and the resurrection. In this we greatly rejoice! Please never lose sight of this!!! Never lose faith in the end of the story, even though we may have to go through some difficulties.    

What we must endure

1 Peter 1:6b-9 NIV
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 

  • Because God has great mercy, we have received new life, a living hope, eternal salvation, and a glorious inheritance all through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our faith in Him.  Even still, we may have to suffer grief and all kinds of trials until salvation has been granted. There are so many that come to us here on this earth . . . so why do these things happen and why are they allowed?  So that our faith will be refined and proved genuine.  Ill. of Gold, counterfeit money, and NFL football.  Ill. of people’s lives.  If we past the tests, the result will be praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Will you keep the faith? Will you pass the tests? Is your faith genuine? Anyone can have “faith” when things are good.  Where is your faith when it is difficult?  
  • Those who pass the tests, even though we have not seen Christ, we love Him.  Even though we don’t see Him now, we believe in Him. And because we believe in Him, we are filled with a glorious and inexpressible joy, for we are receiving the goal of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls. 

Conclusion 

  • Praise God for His great mercy for us!  Rejoice in what Jesus Christ has done for us! Be exceedingly happy about what we have been given, new life, living hope, eternal salvation and a glorious inheritance. We have so much to be grateful for! 
  • Understand that you may have to go through trials and difficulties.  Keep the faith. Know that through them your faith is being refined and proved genuine.  Know that in persevering you will receive praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed to us all.  
  • Prayer